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How the Better Call Saul Season 5 Finale Set up a Final Season of Devastating Dominos Left to Fall 

Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Written by Michael Vacchiano 

The fifth season of Better Call Saul ended last week with an awesome finale, featuring an incredible one-two punch for its continuing story arcs. While one event featured a whole lot of actual bullets flying, the other included a pair of finger-guns popping. The Better Call Saul Season 5 Finale  titled “Something Unforgivable”, helped solidify even further how the series is more than just the Breaking Bad spinoff it’s perceived as. The origin story of underdog attorney Jimmy McGill turning into crooked lawyer Saul Goodman has always been at the show’s forefront, and it was in full swing during the season’s double opener.

Lead actor Bob Odenkirk (Little Women) took a backseat this time, however, as other members of the show’s ensemble got the spotlight. The ongoing storyline involving the Albuquerque drug business took an interesting turn this year with the permanent addition of new cartel player Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton, Sense8). Arriving on the local scene to investigate Gus Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian) secret underground meth lab project, Lalo has been a thorn in many people’s sides. Gus has deployed both hitman/fixer Mike (Jonathan Banks, Community) and “double agent” Nacho (Michael Mando, Spider-Man: Homecoming) to handle Lalo throughout the season. 

After being set up and arrested on phony charges, Lalo gets out after being represented by Saul and posting a massive bail. He promptly heads to his family home in Mexico to avoid scrutiny from the authorities, whose location is tipped off by the escorting Nacho. This leads to the tense and incredibly filmed assassination raid at Lalo’s hacienda compound in the episode’s climax. Series co-runner Peter Gould (Breaking Bad) directed “Something Unforgivable” himself, and credit goes to him for making the entire action sequence as thrilling as it was. 

Dalton, with charm and menace, has also really done a fantastic job establishing Lalo as a character worthy of inclusion in the Breaking Bad universe. His narrow and gritty survival against the hit squad shows he’s not a mere henchman of the Salamanca family, and that he will raise some hell for Gustavo in the series’ final season. Not to mention Lalo certainly knows that Nacho was involved, as the latter made his escape before the violent brouhahas. 

On the other side of the Better Call Saul Season 5 finale — the penultimate season finale of the series — Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn, Veep) continues her emergence as Jimmy’s partner-in-crime. As his romantic partner and a fellow self-made lawyer, Kim has often been the moral center for Jimmy throughout the series’ run. She has constantly tried to keep him from fully steering onto the dark path and has seemingly appeared as the only thing keeping him from doing so at times. Various glimpses this season, however, have shown Kim to be far more comfortable breaking the rules than we thought. 

Increasingly dissatisfied with her role as legal counsel for the Southwest bank chain Mesa Verde, she enlists Jimmy to help her sabotage their business from within, swindling them to help an underprivileged client. Kim also proposes marriage to Jimmy to protect herself from disclosing any of his illegal activity by proxy of spousal confidentiality. She even quits her cushy position at her corporate law firm to focus on her pro bono work. But the coup de grace of Kim’s evolution (or devolution, so to speak) arrived during this final episode when she suggested they set up their former boss, Howard Hamlin, to get Jimmy’s cut of the long-awaited Sandpiper case settlement. 

Just as with Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) slow-burn journey into the criminal mastermind Heisenberg on Breaking Bad, we are starting to perhaps see Kim’s true colors in this fifth season. She’s often spoken of herself as having a difficult upbringing, and we got an inkling of that during a flashback scene with her hard-drinking mother a few episodes back. Being an underdog and a scrapper is maybe why she’s always been so drawn to Jimmy, constantly staying with him when she should clearly leave him. However, all of Kim’s actions and choices show that maybe it’s more than just an attraction to the “bad boy.” When it comes to straddling the moral and ethical line, she may in fact be more of Jimmy’s equal than we may have initially thought. 

It can’t be said often enough, but major props and awards recognition are overdue for Rhea Seehorn for her performance as Kim these past five years. Often while being less showy than her costars, Seehorn has always done amazing work, and this season alone has been the pinnacle of her character’s development and all her layers underneath. While she is not in Breaking Bad, fans of Kim have constantly hoped that her unknown fate has a happy ending. And yet the rebelliously deceptive nature she has shown in season five may prove that to be impossible, or perhaps even undeserved. 

Better Call Saul kept the quality at a high level yet again with a fantastic finale for its penultimate season. The metamorphosis of Jimmy into Saul Goodman had already kicked off full throttle in the premiere. However, other major storylines took gigantic leaps in this episode, particularly the war between Gus/Nacho vs. the Salamanca family and Kim’s own “Breaking Bad” odyssey. It may still be too bold to say that Saul is better than its parent series, but it is quite justifiable to refer to it as one of the best shows that television has to offer. Fans like myself can not wait until the final season, and let’s hope we’ll get it next year. 

Better Call Saul Season 5 Finale is now streaming on AMC, and on demand on your local cable operator.


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